Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today welcomed the annual KPMG Agribusiness Agenda at the National Fieldays, noting the strong correlation between Government and industry priorities.
This year’s Agenda reiterated the importance of strong biosecurity and food safety systems, and highlighted uncertainty around a potential change of Government as a major point of concern across the over 150 industry leaders surveyed.
“I’m not surprised to see the significance of biosecurity flagged again by industry, and it has been my number one priority since becoming a Minister,” says Guy.
“This year saw the start of a new era of biosecurity cooperation with the first Government-Industry Agreement (GIA) Deed signed between MPI and Kiwifruit Vine Health, with other industries gearing up to sign.
“Ultimately, the best biosecurity system for New Zealand will be one where the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) works in partnership with primary industries on a collaborative approach to preparedness and response so that industry expertise is harnessed to achieve the outcomes needed. That’s what we’re doing.
“Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) 2014 budget has increased by over $17 million – with a focus on strengthening biosecurity and food safety systems. We are also beefing up the border with new staff, more dog detector teams, and new x-ray machines,” the Minister says.
The last 15 months has also seen a strong emphasis placed on preparing for the unlikely event of a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak, with MPI developing a 16-component project to deliver greater readiness and response.
“Progress is being made with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Government to cooperate and work together on preparedness for this disease.
“Under this programme, a team of New Zealand vets has also just left for Nepal to undertake field training on the diagnosis and management of FMD.
“We have just signed an agreement to form an international animal health emergency reserve team with Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the UK and USA. This arrangement provides a framework for competent personnel to be shared between these countries during an animal health emergency.
“Of course, the general election is just around the corner and this Agenda highlights that industry leaders are weary of how the election result may impact on their economic momentum.
As this independent report states “Election 2014 is the most significant in decades for the primary sector,” says Guy.